Kimmy McHarrie        

Fine Art Glass Mosaics

Kimmy McHarrie makes fine art mosaics using venetian glass, stone, shells,

gold leaf smalti , semi precious stones and found objects. 

Since her first exhibition in 2005 Kimmy has sold more than 400 works to customers worldwide.

Scroll down for story . . . .

Cod

 smalti , glass and mirror

1100x500

This example uses over a thousand hand cut pieces of venetian glass a process that takes many weeks to complete.

My Story

Photo : Phil Miller

I have spent my life creating in one way or another. My work reflects my love of nature, particularly the sea which has always played a large part in my life as I was born and brought up on the Isle of Man.

 

My work has always been collage led and I see mosaic as an extension of this, colour, shape and texture being all important. I try to bring a new approach to the ancient art of mosaic. Mosaic making is a very physical process. Each piece of coloured glass or stone is cut by hand using a hammer and hardie, the traditional mosaicist’s tools. The process I use for completing the mosaic is called the double reverse method, which I learnt in Ravenna, Italy, the historic centre of Byzantine mosaic. It involves 6 different processes. 

 

It is always a challenge to produce work with “life” from such an un-giving medium and the limited colour palette available to me also imposes interesting constraints. The biggest obstacle to me is the length of time the work takes me to produce as I have so many pictures in my head but not enough time to create them all.  The fact that mosaic art is so ancient appeals to me, as does the tactile and organic quality of the work. Each piece of work is like a journey, beginning with an idea and ending somewhere I may not have expected. My work is not practical mosaic. I see it as painting, just in a different medium.

 

I was lucky enough to have been taught by the artist Norman Sayle R.I. who once remarked that one of his favourite things about water colour painting was the “happy accidents” that could happen. It is the same for me with mosaic as sometimes when hammering a piece of glass or stone, an amazing shape emerges and I will save it and sometimes even create a whole picture around it.

History

Kimmy was born and grew up in Castletown on the Isle of Man in  a cottage on the seafront. Her parents were both teachers and allowed her to pursue her passion for creating, painting, drawing and collage involving smashing up scallop shells  she found on the beach to make pictures. At aged 8 years old she won a competition with the finished picture.

After her art foundation course under the tutorage of Norman Sayle R.I. she went to Newcastle to study design and illustration. On completing her degree she moved to London where she worked as a freelance designer and illustrator having numerous illustrations published as greetings cards and in books and magazines.

 

Leaving London and reaching a milestone birthday she went to Ravenna in Italy to study mosaic making. Under the tutorage of Luciana Nottorni Kimmy was taught the "Double Reverse Method" of mosaic making. She now laughs at how she has come full circle and instead of smashing up scallop shells, she is breaking glass and stone to create works of art, albeit in a more sophisticated manner! 

Since her first exhibition in 2005 Kimmy has sold more than 400 works to customers worldwide.

Ravenna

Ravenna was a Roman city that rose to prominence in the fifth to the eighth centuries, when it was the western capital of the Roman Empire and Byzantine Empire in Europe. 

The finest mosaics of these periods can still be seen in churches in the town.

Kimmy now uses the very same techniques as the Romans and Byzantines of these times.

The Magi.  Sant'Apollinaire Nuovo Ravenna

500AD

The Apse Sant'Apollinaire in Classe Ravenna

500AD

San Vitale  Ravenna

600AD

Endangered Species and Conservation

Much of my work exhibited in my 2020 exhibition "Shattered"  reflects on all things threatened and endangered.

 

We are living in very challenging times where so many certainties have become uncertain and our normality has been turned upside down, shattered.

 

 As a human my only way of coping with the world is to gaze at the daisies and find solace in my surroundings as my sanity is endangered if I don’t!

The work below depicts many endangered species across the globe.

Endangered 2020  smalti and glass 900x500

Europe.

Bechstein’s Bat, Russia High Brown Fritillary, United Kingdom

Eastern Pasque Flower, Czech Republic

Africa

Baobab Tree, West Africa Chimpanzee, West Africa Rhim Gazelle, North Africa

Rothschild Giraffe, East Africa Gorilla, East Africa

Black Rhinoceros, South Africa Hooded Vulture, West Africa

South America

Short Tailed Chinchilla, Chile Orinoco Crocodile, Venezuela

Golden Lion Tamarin, Brazil Galapagos Giant Tortoise, Galapagos Islands

Green Sea Turtle, Atlantic Ocean Blue Whale, Pacific Ocean

North America

Polar Bear, Greenland  Franklin’s Bumble Bee, Oregon  Black Lace Cactus, Texas  California Condor, California

Eskimo Curlew, Alaska  Eastern Flowering Dogwood, Canada  Northern Leopard Frog, Canada  Moose, Canada

Leather Back Turtle, Atlantic Ocean  Atlantic Walrus, Atlantic Ocean  Right Whale, Atlantic Ocean

Asia

Bactrian Camel, Mongolia Sumatran Elephant, Sumatra Amur Leopard, Russia

Giant Panda, China White Stalk, Japan Beluga Sturgeon, Caspian Sea Bengal Tiger, India

Australia

Fire Coral, Tasman Sea Hector’s Dolphin, Pacific Ocean Krill, Indian Ocean Night Parrot, Eastern Australia

Short Nosed Sea Snake, Indian Ocean Black Flanked Rock Wallaby, Western Australia

Antarctica

Emperor Penguin, Antarctica

Sea Fan Window

smalti and glass  set in 18thC Iron Frame

950 diameter

Phytoplankton and Zooplankton are the self-feeding components of the plankton community and a key part of oceans, seas and freshwater basin ecosystems.  Plankton serve as the base of the aquatic food web, providing an essential ecological function for all aquatic life.

Living diatoms (phytoplankton) make up a significant portion of the Earth's biomass: they generate about 20 to 50 percent of the oxygen produced on the planet each year.

Diatoms are used to monitor past and present environmental conditions, and are commonly used in studies of water quality.

A recent project

I found this 200 year old French church window in Barrows, Faversham, an antique shop full of very beautiful and mysterious objects.

 

It seemed like the perfect frame for a mosaic but to make it was a challenge.

Along with the Pink Sea Fan it also features

Phyto Plankton and Zooplankton.

It could also be made into a table top with the addition of a glass top.

Sea Fan

Nationally scarce and globally vulnerable. Here in the UK, the pink sea fan is protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

 

The pink sea fan is classified as Vulnerable on the global IUCN Red List.

Seasalter Beach 2020

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john@johngallen.com

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